Sexual assault is a very serious criminal offense that’s aggressively prosecuted in Phoenix. A conviction, and even an accusation, can damage reputations, ruin careers, and lead to social humiliation. These repercussions are far-reaching and can last for a lifetime, especially because those who are convicted on this charge are required to register as a sex offender on a list that’s accessible to the public.
A proper defense is crucial if you want to protect your life and your freedom. A sexual assault defense lawyer can help you understand what you’re up against, investigate the claims against you, and work hard to protect your future. When your freedom and life are hanging in the balance, your choices matter. Your lawyer’s skills and experience can make or break your case.
At Goldman Law, we know how devastating a sexual assault charge can be, so we work hard to protect our clients’ rights. Our criminal defense attorney Howard Dworman has extensive experience particularly in sexual assault defense. He has even helped clients avoid being charged through significant pre-charge work.
Whether you are facing sexual assault charges or are being accused of the offense, contact Goldman Law today by calling (602) 698-5520 for your best chance at your freedom to protect your rights.
Arizona Revised Statute 13-406 defines sexual assault as the “intentional or knowing engagement in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with any person without the consent of such person.” It is, essentially, the legal term for rape. Sexual assault is a class 2 felony in Arizona. A sexual assault charge may also be elevated depending on the circumstances, or charged in addition to another offense.
Some other offenses that are similar or closely related to sexual assault are prosecuted under specific Arizona laws, including:
- Sexual misconduct (ARS 13-1418)
- Sexual conduct with a minor (ARS 13-1405)
- Violent sexual assault (ARS 13-1423)
- Child molestation (ARS 13-1410)
In any sexual assault case, the key issue is consent. Consent is considered lacking if the victim was:
- Under the age of consent
- Mentally incapable of giving consent
- Coerced or deceived into participating
Penalties for Sexual Assault Conviction
The penalties for sexual assault depend on several factors, including the victim’s age, the defendant’s age, whether the defendant has prior convictions, whether the defendant inflicted physical harm knowingly, and the circumstances surrounding the case.
For first-time offenders, a sexual assault conviction can get them between 5.25 to 15 years in prison. The presumptive sentence is 7 years. For repeat offenders, the sentence ranges are as follows:
- If they have one prior felony conviction, the sentence is between 7 to 21 years
- If they have two prior felony convictions, the sentence is between 14 to 28 years
The minimum and maximum terms may increase by three years if it’s established that the accused used a date rape drug to commit the crime. If the victim is under 12 years old or if the defendant inflicted physical harm knowingly, the court may give a lifelong prison sentence.
A convicted offender may receive the maximum prison sentence if the following aggravating factors are proven by the prosecution:
- The accused threatened to inflict serious physical injury
- The victim suffered serious physical injury
- The accused possessed, threatened to use, or did use a deadly weapon
- A third person was present and helped the accused commit the crime.
Arizona Sex Offender Registry
Under ARS 13-3821, people who are convicted of sexual assault charges will be required to register as a sex offender to warn the public. The following information will be included in the registry:
- The offender’s address
- The offender’s photo
- The offender’s fingerprints
- The offender’s vehicle identification information
- Details about the case and conviction
Being placed on this list can affect the person’s ability to take out loans, find housing, or even get a job.
Possible Defense Strategies for Sexual Assault Charges
A criminal defense lawyer will look at the facts of the case and implement a custom-tailored defense strategy for their client. Here are some of the possible defense strategies that may be used:
- The accused has an alibi
- It’s a case of mistaken identity
- The prosecution failed to prove the elements of the sexual assault beyond reasonable doubt
- The accused rights were violated during the interrogation or search and seizure process
- A lack of probable cause for the accused’s arrest
- Bias on the part of the police or prosecution
- The witness’s credibility or motive is questionable
- The statute of limitations is up
- The charges involve financial incentive, extortion, or revenge on the part of the plaintiff
- One parent falsely accused the other to gain an advantage in their divorce and custody disputes
Contact an Experienced Phoenix Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Today
The heartache and stigma that can accompany a serious sexual assault charge can make you fear for your future.
If you’re faced with an assault charge, we’re here to help. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Howard Dworman will seek to understand you, and help you navigate the charges you’re facing and mount the best defense possible.
Call us today at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.